Visitors can safely share Singapore’s love affair with food.
Singaporeans love food. And those aren’t my words — that’s precisely what my local friends there tell me. “We LOVE to eat!”
Dining out is intrinsic to the place and the culture.
There are great quality restaurants, but a big part of the culinary adventure is to graze through the hawker food cooked along Singapore’s streets.
There are strict and policed health standards, so this is one place in the world where we visitors can have confidence in authentic street food.
Singapore-style chicken rice is a national dish. The chicken is steeped in boiling water until cooked, then soaked in cold water to keep it tender.
In Singapore, this Hainanese style rice is then matched with a red chili sauce dip and the rice is ideally cooked in chicken stock with ginger and pandan leaves.
Chilli crabs surely comes second. Steamed hard-shell crabs are partially cracked, then lightly cooked in a thick gravy based on a tomato chilli mix. Use bread to soak up the gravy.
Laksa in Singapore is made with cut-up rice noodles, coconut curry soup with shrimp, fish cakes, egg and chicken meat.
Char Kway Teow is broad white noodles fried with black soya sauce and bean sprouts and then with seafood or Chinese sausage.
Wanton noodles are a hawker staple, often served with barbecued pork, egg noodles and a light soya sauce base.
To wrap it up, Singaporeans love kueh — bite-sized sweet snacks usually made of glutinous rice.
And the best time to do it all is on a warm, still evening. (I can smell it now.)
Tasty street food zones
Maxwell Food Centre. 1 Kadayanallur Street, Singapore 069184. Near Chinatown, Telok Ayer and Tanjong Pagar MRT stations. Open daily from 8am to 2am.
Lau Pa Sat. 18 Raffles Quay, Singapore 048582. Near Raffles Place, Tanjong Pagar, Telok Ayer and Downtown MRT stations. Some stalls are open 24 hours every day.
Tekka Centre. 60 Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 229900. Above Little India MRT station. Open daily from 6.30am to 9pm.
Tiong Bahru Market. 30 Seng Poh Road, Singapore 168898. Between Outram and Tiong Bahru MRT stations. Open daily from 6am to 11pm.
ABC Brickworks Food Centre. 6 Jalan Bukit Merah, Singapore 150006. Near Redhill and Queenstown MRT stations. Open daily from 8am to 1am.
Adam Road Food Centre. 2 Adam Rd, Singapore 289876. Beside Botanic Gardens MRT station. Open daily from 7am to 10pm.
Chomp Chomp Food Centre. 20 Kensington Park Road, Singapore 557269. Take a bus from Serangoon MRT station. Open daily 2pm to 12.30am.
Golden Mile Food Centre. 505 Beach Road, Singapore 199583. Between Nicoll Highway and Lavender MRT stations. Open daily from 7am to 1am.
The Bedok Marketplace. 288A Bedok Rd, Singapore 469445. Take buses 2, 9 or 48 from Tanah Merah MRT station. Open daily from 8am to 2am.
- There are good food walks, with local guides, such as the Joo Chiat and Katong Food Walk by Betel Box Asia which might sample between 30 to 40 local dishes in one walking tour. (+65 6247 7340)
- Night Out Marina Bay by Tour East Singapore will usually include satay (grilled skewered meat) at a hawker stall, and many other food venues in the Marina Bay area. (+65 6735 1221.)